Democrat Patrick Murphy may be fighting political math as much as he is Republican Marco Rubio in Florida’s nationally watched U.S. Senate race, largely because it is part of a much bigger battle for control of the chamber.
Democrats placed a big bet on Murphy, figuring the two-term Jupiter congressman could flip the seat when Rubio was running for president and vowing not to seek re-election.
But Murphy’s chances shifted seismically in June, when Rubio announced he’d seek a second term.
Now, entering the race’s final weeks, Murphy’s hope is that Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s sinking prospects will also pull Rubio under water.
National Democrats, though, seem skeptical, steering millions of dollars in planned spending for Murphy into at least five other states – Indiana, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina and Pennsylvania – where Democratic pick-ups may look more likely. Democratic allies have spent only $5 million on taking out Rubio, according to Pro Publica, which is tracking campaign spending.
Meanwhile, Republican leadership PACS and outside groups such as the GOP’s Senate Leadership Fund, National Republican Senatorial Committee and National Rifle Association are underwriting Rubio’s race, spending more than $20 million against Murphy.
The pair will meet Monday in the first of two debates scheduled. The hourlong event from the University of Central Florida in Orlando will be aired on ABC-TV stations across the state, including WPBF-TV Channel 25 in West Palm Beach.
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